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Faces in KS: Riley Philbern

Riley Philbern is primed for a huge senior season for Hoisington. (photo:Hugo Gonzalez)
By: Sports in Kansas - Chet Kuplen
Sep 11, 2019

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Hoisington (2A) football is primed for a huge season in 2019, it’s no secret. Yes, they return one of the best players in all classes of Kansas in Wyatt Pedigo, a North Dakota State commit at the Division I level. That is also no secret.

But it is much more than Pedigo on this Cardinals team that returned seven offensive starters and eight defensive starters from last years 9-3 team. Another big-time playmaker for Hoisington is senior lineman Riley Philbern.

The 6-foot-2, 270-pounder is a three-year starter at right guard and defensive tackle. Hoisington has had a lot of solid success on both sides of the football as of recent whether that’s past stars Hunter Hanzlick and Landen Urban or players like Philbern and Pedigo.

Philbern also gets it done in the weight room as he features a 475 squat and 300 clean. He is also a multiple sport athlete, winning the USAWKS folk style championship in wrestling last year. He also took fifth in the loaded 3-2-1A division featuring some of the best Kansas has to offer.

Philbern is also an outstanding student at Hoisington High School with a GPA of 3.86.  He plans to go on to play football at the collegiate level and is hoping many opportunities arise after a big senior football season.

For now its football season and the Cardinals, led by head coach Zach Baird, are off to a very solid start as they beat Pratt, last years 3A state runner-up, 37-13, on Friday in Pratt. The Cardinals will again go on the road as they face fellow CKL opponent Nickerson this week. Hoisington won the game 28-14 last year against Nickerson but loss in the opener against Pratt, without Pedigo, 34-0.

We caught up with the outstanding senior multiple sport athlete below in the latest Q&A edition of Faces in Kansas.

This feature is presented by Town and Country Supermarket in Hoisington. Proud to support the Cardinals. Best of luck this season. See our ad in the right corner! 

Chet Kuplen, CEO/Founder of Sports in Kansas, on Philbern

“He has great size and leverage obviously with his wrestling background. He is straight up nasty on the line and that’s a compliment! His video jumps off the page. He will need to get a little stronger in the weight room going forward in some lifts but the kid can flat-out play and is one of the most underrated players likely because he’s 6’2.5”. I don’t see very many people handling him one on one in 2A or the CKL this year. I didn’t know a lot about him last year but I ran into Coach Baird’s father, a former KU football player back in the day, at a camp this last spring and he told me some great things about Riley. I then checked him out and was overly impressed with what I saw. They have some dudes and they are a major contender to win it in 2A. They all know it wont come easy though as it’s a loaded class. I’ve also followed the program a little closer over the last few years as I am on local radio w/ Cole Reif every Friday breaking down statewide matchups. They’ve really had a lot of talent there over the last five years. CKL has some quality football.”

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Q&A w/ Philbern

How did you get involved in football?

My dad played in high school so I wanted to play

What are your goals this season?

To be one of the best lineman in the state and the team goal is to win state

Do you guys have a shot to make a run this year?

I think we do

What makes you such a force as a player?

My motor and strength

What’s the atmosphere like to play football on Friday night for your school and town?

It’s really fun, everyone from school is there and the stands are full from other people in town

For anyone that hasn’t seen one of your games, why come to one?

To see how I play and why our team is successful

Who are other key players on your team?

Wyatt Pedigo, Kameron Schneweis, and Chandler Blackwell

Favorite thing about football?

I love how I can take another person and put them where they don’t want to go and I love the environment on Friday nights

Do you play any other sports, tell us about that, what other positions do you play?

I wrestle and do track. I am the varsity 285 in wrestling and I throw shot out and discus in track.

What is it like to play for your coach?

It’s a lot of fun, he has a special bond with us but he’ll push you to be the best you can

What did you and the team do in the off-season to become better?

I went and busted it every day in the weight room this summer and went to a few college camps

What interest are you seeing at the next level and what are your plans?

I’m getting talked to by a few colleges for football and the plan is to play at the next level

Favorite thing to do when you aren’t playing sports?

Drive around in the country in either my truck or on my four wheeler

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Hopefully with a family and a stable job with my own house

Favorite subject in school, what type of student are you, GPA?

My favorite subject is weights. I get my work down. My gpa is a 3.86

Who is your role model?

I’d probably say my dad since he’s the one who got me going in football

Best place to eat in your town or the surrounding area?

I personally think Dairy Queen

One thing the average person wouldn’t know about you?

I like conspiracy theories